By now everyone knows that Asian students in American schools are outperforming their non-Asian counterparts academically. The same holds true for Asians students in Asia. They have become world beaters. Our students have become also-rans.
Now, Betsy McCaughey suggests, you would think that non-Asian American parents would want to emulate the example of their Asian competitors. If the Tiger Mom was so successful and if her counterparts in other countries are so successful, shouldn’t American parents try to do as she did?
McCaughey does not mention the Tiger Mom but she does explain that a goodly part of the success of Asian children comes from their disciplinarian parents and their work-based culture.
As it happens, that is not the American way. The American way is to try to bring the Asian students down, to malign them and to suggest that all the hard work will make them neurotic and suicidal. Obviously, deep-think magazine articles about the neuroticism and depression of Asian children are psy-ops. They might examine a high school in Stanford, CA and discover a high level of suicides, fact that may or may not have something to do with having Tiger Moms. Then again, it may or may not have something to do with living in an America that demeans children who work all the time and who do not excel at play dates and sleepovers.
If the calumny is valid, we would also be able to demonstrate that the world-beating students in Asia are similarly afflicted. And we would also want to show how badly these countries are doing in economic competition with the rest of the world.
The studies are a psychic balm for American parents. They are saying that American parents should not worry when their children fall behind academically and cannot get jobs in Silicon Valley. They can console themselves with the notion that their children have higher self-esteem and fewer suicide attempts. One does not know off-hand how many American children are taking psychotropic medication, to say nothing of alcohol and weed, but still, making American children as the gold standard of mental health seems a bit risky. Someone might counter that we are raising a generation of decadent underachievers. Or, one might say, yet another generation of decadent underachievers.
We do know that Asian students tend not to want to be part of the ambient American culture. They tend to hang out with each other and to avoid the Dionysian aspects of high school and college life. Apparently, the best defense against American decadence is to opt out and spend Saturday night in the library.
In the meantime colleges are imposing quotas in order to limit the number of Asian students. And just in case these alarmist stories have not convinced Tiger Moms to dumb their children down, now a high school in New Jersey has found a new way to do the job.
McCaughey outlines the problem:
American teens rank a dismal 28th in math and science knowledge, compared with teens in other countries — even poor countries. Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are at the top.
We’ve slumped. For the first time in 25 years, US scores on the main test for elementary and middle school education fell. And SAT scores for college-bound students dropped significantly.
Could changes in these tests be to blame? That convenient excuse was torpedoed by the stellar performances of Asian-American students. Even though many come from poor or immigrant families, they outscore all other students by large margins on both tests, and their lead keeps widening.
Here in New York City, Asian-Americans make up 13 percent of students, yet they win more than half of the coveted places each year at the city’s selective public high schools, such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant.
By any standard, the record is not very good.
The same disparity pertains in a New Jersey high school:
That formula is under fire at the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey. The district, which is 65 percent Asian, routinely produces seniors with perfect SAT scores, admissions to MIT and top prizes in international science competitions.
Evidently, American parents are upset. They have complained to school officials. Since, much of what they learned in college was how to complain and criticize, they are putting their education to good use. Since they never learned hard work they cannot impart that value to their children.
Anyway, American parents believe that their darlings are under too much pressure and cannot compete. The solution: to dumb down the curriculum. Yes, indeed, that will do it.
McCaughey reports the sad news:
But many non-Asian parents are up in arms, complaining there’s too much pressure and their kids can’t compete. In response, this fall Superintendent David Aderhold apologized that school had become a “perpetual achievement machine.” Heaven forbid!
Aderhold canceled accelerated and enriched math courses for fourth and fifth grades, which were 90 percent Asian, and eliminated midterms and finals in high school.
Using a word that already strikes terror in the hearts of Asian parents, he said schools had to take a “holistic” approach. That’s the same euphemism Harvard uses to limit the number of Asians accepted and favor non-Asians.
Aderhold even lowered standards for playing in school music programs. Students have a “right to squeak,” he insisted. Never mind whether they practice.
“Holistic” means that we are not going to accept your high achieving child because we are afraid that he will not excel at Spring Break. And because we need to save places to achieve diversity quotas.
One notes with even more chagrin that the school no longer considers it important to play music correctly. This ought to recall the cries of anguish when American parents discovered that the Tiger Mom once forced her young daughter to sit at the piano playing the same piece of music until she got it right. The poor girl was not even allowed a bathroom break.
In effect, The Tiger Mom was teaching her daughter the virtue of perseverance.
How did that one work out?
Well, here is the Tiger Cub today. This is Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld’s bio:
Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld '15 graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard University with an AB in Philosophy and South Asian Studies. While at Harvard, Sophia was a recipient of the Safra Undergraduate Fellowship in Ethics. She was also named (for better or worse) one of "Harvard's 15 Most Interesting Seniors." Sophia is currently pursuing her JD at Yale Law School.
One can also add that she completed the Harvard ROTC program and has set up a tutoring business, called Tiger Cub Tutoring, from which this bio is drawn. Check out the site.
As you can see, America needs to stop Asian children before they become like the Tiger Cubs.